Scotland – The West Highland Way

Don’t get too excited, I’m not going on a hike anytime soon. However, about ten years ago I walked the https://www.westhighlandway.org/. Well, to be honest not all 154km. Husband and I skipped about 30km or so, but we spent some time afterwards on the Isle of Skye and made up for that.

I vividly remember the first two days or so, which took us all along Loch Lomond. In sunshine!WHWLochLo

Then we had a few days of typical Scottish weather – cold blustery wind, rain, the odd ray of sunlight. But by the time we had reached Glencoe it was all sunny again.

WHW GlennCo

The last stretch down to Fort William was evil. We could see Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, and we could see the path going on and on and on. The sense of achievement was great though once we arrived. I’m glad we did this long-distance hike – lovely memories.

WHW

Dinosaur of the week: Garganey

garganey

It was a few years ago on Loch Morlich in Scotland where I encountered what I think is a female Spatula querquedula. The species is listed as least concern on the Red List, but numbers are in decline and threats are aplenty:

  • habitat deterioration and destruction (dam building, irrigation)
  • destruction of nests through meadow mowing
  • lead poisoning
  • hunting (eg in France)

Dinosaur of the week: Common Ringed Plover

plover

Small birds and waders are tricky to catch, and small wading birds in full camouflage even more so. I almost overlooked this Charadrius hiaticula which I encountered around sunset some years ago on the west coast of Scotland.

Among other issues this migratory species is threatened by petroleum pollution and wetland drainage for irrigation. We really need to get on with the Half-Earth project and population control of Homo sapiens.

Dinosaur of the week: Rook

rookThis Corvus frugilegus and I met a couple of years ago in Scotland, on a beach near St. Andrews. These highly intelligent birds face the threads of losing habitat because of extensive agriculture, of losing food because of mercury coating on seeds and the use of pesticides, and of losing their life because stupid humans shoot them (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22705983/0).

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow palace‘On its lovely site overlooking the loch it remains, still beautiful, standing in emptiness and ruin, its walls and rooms open to the sky. […] Linlithgow makes me hope there may be a day when some humans will no longer think it desirable, or even acceptable, to kill one species in order to protect another, specially nurtured, carefully bred for the sole purpose of being shot for sport.’

(Esther Woolfson, Corvus: A Life with Birds, Granta)